Saturday, September 20, 2014

Supernatural Horror in Literature by H. P. Lovecraft

Supernatural Horror in Literature (1927) by H. P. Lovecraft is a fantastic review, both for its breadth of coverage and the creepy way in which it is written. Here's the first paragraph:
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a literary form. Against it are discharged all the shafts of a materialistic sophistication which clings to frequently felt emotions and external events, and of a naively insipid idealism which deprecates the aesthetic motive and calls for a didactic literature to uplift the reader toward a suitable degree of smirking optimism. But in spite of all this opposition the weird tale has survived, developed, and attained remarkable heights of perfection; founded as it is on a profound and elementary principle whose appeal, if not always universal, must necessarily be poignant and permanent to minds of the requisite sensitiveness.
I've already acquired several of the classics he mentioned and will read them whenever I next feel the need to be weirded out. His only work of fiction that I recall reading was The Dunwhich Horror which was so creepy that I was never able to bring myself to read anything else by the author, despite my appreciation for the quality of his writing.

Lovecraft in 1934

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